This panel discussed the ways that new technology and current events are shaping the
way fans access sports news. It was moderated by Dan Shanoff, a former sports columnist and
Head of Content and Programming for Monumental Sports Network. The panelists first
discussed new projects and ideas they have been working on. Jenny Vrentas, senior writer for
Sports Illustrated and the MMQB, talked about how she helped bring in Richard Sherman to
write a weekly column for SI. She mentioned how this trend of player journalism is becoming
more prevalent, with publications such as The Player’s Tribune. Chris Stone, Sports
Illustrated’s Editorial Director, talked about SI TV, their new video platform. He called it a
“natural outgrowth of what people traditionally identify [Sports Illustrated] as.” His goal was to
take the same stories and content and find new, innovative ways to present them.
The conversation then shifted to the implications of the legalization of sports gambling.
In May, New Jersey won a Supreme Court case that will now allow any state to legalize sports
gambling. Oskar Garcia, Deputy Sports Editor for the Associated Press, expects it to have a big
impact on sports journalism. He believes we will see much more content targeted specifically to
sports gamblers, and sports reporting will start to look more like market reports, documenting in
much more detail the weather, injuries, and anything that could affect sports bettors. He
suggested that casinos could even try to produce the content themselves.
To conclude the panel, the panelists were asked to discuss some intriguing questions
they have about the industry which the audience could ponder. Vrentas wondered if The
Athletic, a paid sports news subscription with a unique model for personalized content, will be
successful. Stone speculated on how Netflix might try to enter the market for sports content,
perhaps by creating a show similar to Showtime’s Hard Knocks. Finally, Garcia discussed the
viability of automated journalism, such as the personalized reports some fantasy football sites
will immediately write up for users.
USBC Journal Writer
Class of 2022